We asked our friends at UW Dawg Pound to answer some questions regarding UW Football for us and they graciously sent us responses! Take a look!
Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?
With running back Myles Gaskin still questionable with a shoulder injury, sophomore Salvon Ahmed is beginning to emerge as the go-to ball carrier for the Huskies. Ahmed has always been known for his breakaway speed, but he is showing that he is more than just a burner. Ahmed hits the hole quickly and is stronger than he looks. He is the future at running back for UW, and with Gaskin’s status unknown, the future is now.
Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?
Middle Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven leads the nation in tackles with 108, and he is the definition of an impact defender. Burr-Kirven is an undersized player with great speed and instincts, and while he may go undrafted come April due to his stature, he is a dominant college linebacker. He will diagnose the play, find the ball carrier, and hit with violence while trying to strip the ball. He’s the man.
Who’s one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for UW?
I’m going to go with freshman tight end Cade Otton. Washington uses a lot of two and three tight end sets, and asks their tight ends to do a variety of things. Otton is on his way to becoming a dominant blocker in the run game, but he is an excellent pass receiver as well. I keep waiting for him to have a big day catching the football, maybe this is the week
What does UW need to do to win the game?
The formula for Washington is to wear opponents down. Defensively, they want you to run the football against their six man front, and throw short passes. Teams will put together drives early in games and UW will punish the back or receiver on every play. Their philosophy is that you won’t be able to sustain a 12-15 play drive against the Husky defense without a mistake, and as the game goes on, offensive players are worn out from all the hits.
On offense, it’s always the same for a Chris Petersen team: Use the passing game early to set up the run. Jake Browning will take some shots down the field, and UW will use a combination of power runs and stretch plays. In a “not broke don’t fix it” kind of way, they will keep going back to the running play that is having the most success until you prove you can stop it.
What does Cal need to do to win the game?
“Jake on Roller Skates.” That’s what I call it when Jake Browning starts scrambling backwards and doing crazy things. If Cal can get him uncomfortable and trying to make something out of nothing, that is absolutely their best chance to win this game. To do that you need to get pressure on Browning while not leaving anyone open. Browning has shown a tendency to look for the wide open receiver and hold the ball if he doesn’t find one, so you have to have decent coverage or he will burn you.
On offense, Cal has to take some shots down the field. As I mentioned, UW wants you to run the ball and take short gains. If you can’t get some chunk-yardage plays, it’s just too hard to sustain long drive after long drive against UW’s defense.
Oh, and no turnovers.
How do you see the game going?
Probably like every other conference game this season. UW can’t shake their opponent, and they make their fans sweat while keeping things closer than it probably should be. Cal should be fired up for this one, and will probably play their best game of the season, especially with the team feeling good after last week’s annihilation of OSU.
How is it that Jake Browning is a senior who will torch defenses for 10 yards per passing attempt and then do this boneheadedness a couple times per game?
Browning is definitely more up and down in 2018 than he has been in any of his other three seasons. He has always been a guy who didn’t make mistakes, but this year he is trying to make a play when things fall apart way more often, and it is ugly. On the other hand, he can get hot and look like 2016 Jake Browning, which wasn’t really happening last season. When he has good protection that allows him to make a throw or step up in the pocket to scramble, he’s one of the best. When he gets pressure that forces him backwards, lace up those roller skates.
How are Washington fans feeling about the Chris Petersen era? Is the team exceeding expectations, meeting expectations, or underachieving?
The bar has been set. UW made the College Football Playoffs in 2016 and that is the new standard. 10 wins is no longer good enough for a lot of fans, and I have heard some “can’t win the big one” chatter. I personally think that is nonsense. Petersen is infusing the program with great talent and UW should be a Pac-12 powerhouse for the foreseeable future. Besides that, you can’t have a more respectful guy at the helm. I think every program in the conference would take his track record at Washington.
Whom do you most want to punch in the face?
No one thinks about how much it hurts your hand when you punch someone in the face. Chip Kelly has gotten fat, so I’m thinking his chubby mug wouldn’t hurt my knuckles.
What is your Cal–Washington prediction?
This poll is closed
Big Cal win
Close Cal win
Close Washington win
Big Washington win